The influence of the location of emergency exits over the distance to be covered to the exit of an environment

Abstract In a building environment design, the positioning, size and quantity of the exits are fundamental aspects and have an intense relationship with the fire safety of the environments. An aspect that is influenced by these parameters is the average distance to be covered by occupants to the nearest exits during an escape in an emergency situation. The average distance could be used as a complementary measure of the safety of an environment (a lower average distance value indicates a probable faster evacuation rate). Thus, a pathfinder type algorithm to determine the value of the average distances to be covered to the nearest exit during an escape of an environment was detailed and implemented. Computational experiments were performed and the relationship between positioning, quantity and size of the exits and the value of the average distances were studied. The main conclusion was the importance of keeping the exits as far away from each other as possible in a given environment, so that a small distance to be covered could be obtained.